Supervisors: professor Aadu Must, emeriitprofessor Kuno Areng (Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakadeemia)
Opponents: prof. dr. Karsten Brüggemann (Tallinna Ülikool), dr. Simo Mikkonen (Jyväskylän yliopisto)
So far the researches studying Estonian cultural policy in the Soviet period have focused primarily on the modernisation of literature, art and drama. The area of choral music has been studied only fragmentarily.
This paper is an interdisciplinary study, observing Estonian cultural policy during Stalinism, the thaw and the stagnation (1940-1980) and reflecting direct repressions, intellectual terror, restrictions imposed on creativity, ideologization of staffing policy - all different forms of adaptation, collaborationism and passive resistance expressed in choral compositions and the song celebration tradition.
The dissertation provides a definition of Estonian song celebration tradition - a cultural civic movement with long history that stemmed from the movement of fellowships, and opens the role of the song celebration tradition not only as a keeper of music culture, but also as a phenomenon in the area left unattended by the official propaganda. The song celebration movement is a uniquely Estonian cultural expression and it served as a prelude to Estonian Singing Revolution and restitution of independence.
The paper focuses on the professional activities of creative intellectuals and institutions related to choral music, their mutual departmental and backstage relations, but also on issues related to the administration of music culture. Through the role of a creative intellectual, presented by the example of Tuudur Vettik, Roland Laasmäe and their contemporaries, the generally applicable simplified approach to Soviet reality and the then creative intellectuals has been adjusted.
The wide reference base of the paper but especially the extensive inclusion of correspondence between Tuudur Vettik and Roland Laasmäe allowed unfolding the different aspects of Soviet cultural life and cultural policy (all-Union ideological direction and pressure, local party intrigues, the relations between skill and adaptation, the facts related to the organisation of song celebrations). Their correspondence unveils the most untraditional methods used for the continuance of the creative schools currently in disfavour (the role of correspondence in the development of the school of correspondence) and regards professionalism as the most important attribute used for the protection of music traditions.